Should You Keep Your Parent’s House After They Move to Senior Care?

Should You Keep Your Parent's House After They Move to Senior Care

The decision to keep a home can be difficult for those who have parents and need senior living care. Whether you as a family have decided to keep the family home or sell it and move them into a new home can be challenging. The decision is not simple, and several factors to consider.  

Experience shows that the surviving spouse or siblings’ emotional attachment to the home initially drives the decision to keep the home. However, some practical factors to keep in mind as you move forward. You may decide to keep the house after they have moved to senior care. This can be a tough decision. 

I’ve included four discussion points that will help you focus and decide. 

Collaborate to decide the financial details.  The executor should be the point person for organizing and communicating with other decision-makers or heirs with interest in the estate. If there exists a living trust for you, don’t end up in Probate Court and be forced to give away at least 5% of the estate in court fees, stress and a lengthy probate court. You’ll need to discuss how to pay for the expenses involved in keeping the home.

  • Additionally, if you decide to rent the house, how will you use any profits from renting it out? If your family is prone to disagreements, keeping the home may add to your troubles. You and your family members, the decision-makers, will need to have honest discussions. These four topics should be primary to your decision making.
  • Decide who will live in the home.  If you are renting it out, you’ll need to screen applicants. If you are emotionally bonded to the home, ask yourselves do you want a stranger, or even an acquaintance or friend, living in your parent’s house? Screening applicants can take time as well. What if someone in the family wants to move in? What do you do if they default on the rent? If you’re leaving your home vacant, is there someone in town that can go to check on things and handle any ongoing maintenance? The vacant property also requires a special insurance rider on the home.
  • Keep up with ongoing maintenance.  Oftentimes, owners of the inherited property live out of town and discuss who will take on the responsibility of making sure the house remains in good condition. Who will be in charge of making repairs, keeping the books, maintaining, etc.? There is a lot of work and can be especially tricky if the home is vacant.
  • The issue of ongoing costs.  Let’s assume the home is completely paid for. There will be ongoing costs, including fixes and maintenance, home insurance and taxes, and any ongoing services like alarm systems, solar leases, lawn care or pool cleaning services.

It’s true that at some point, you and your family will need to decide your parent or parents need skilled nursing care and consistent supervision. Understanding the levels of care, they can receive key to making that decision together as a family, as I discovered with my father after my mother’s passing that independent living associated with a nursing home was best for him.  

The emotional shock of losing his wife, my mother, after 50 plus years of marriage was too much. My father lost all desire to be in the home or even in the state. Instead, he chose a place that he had loved when we were a young family, close to my brother and me, with the right level of care, and where we could escalate the respect for him as he needed it.

He still could drive and be reasonably independent. It was like a studio apartment. The residents ate together during meal times and had activities and freedom of movement the rest of the time. The facility took care of cleaning the apartment and even did his laundry every week. There was both a medical facility and a memory care facility as the residents aged. Unfortunately, he required hospice care eventually and succumbed to cancer.   

There are alternatives to skilled nursing facilities, such as around-the-clock in-home health care, but they are often cost-prohibitive. What about other obstacles within the home, such as stairs? This post explores, “Should you keep your parent’s house after moving to senior care?”

Are you deciding what to do with your parents’ house?

Deciding whether or not to keep your parents’ house after they move to senior care can be a difficult decision, but there are some key factors that you’ll want to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to look at keeping the home’s costs and responsibilities. You should assume that you could be responsible for the ongoing upkeep of the house and that there may be tax implications if you take your parents’ home in a will or inheritance. Additionally, you’ll want to consider your parents’ preferences and health. If your parent(s) would be more comfortable in a senior community, you’ll want to consider whether or not they’d be willing to move. You may also want to consider the treatment and personal care services at senior communities, which vary from one community to the next. For example, some communities offer nursing care, and others don’t. These decisions, of course, can be very stressful for families.

When should you keep your parents’ house?

It depends on a lot of factors. But usually, you will keep your parent in their own home as long as possible, assuming their health is stable, they are doing well at home, and the house is not difficult to manage. Then it will be best for them to keep the house. The house is their property, and they have a right to do what they want with it. If your parents live in the house, you should consider the need for, and cost of caregivers and what kind of treatment and personal care is needed. For example, if your parent has dementia and requires constant care and supervision, it will be challenging to provide proper treatment and personal care in their own home.

Check out our five-step guide to selling your parents’ house after moving them to senior care.

Selling a house can be challenging when trying to do it independently. Here are some practical steps that might help you guide yourself through the process.

Step one: Begin to get rid of any unwanted items. You may want to sell the home quickly, and other people may want to buy it. Getting rid of things you don’t want to take with you before you put the house on the market will help to make your home more inviting to potential buyers.

Step 2: Next, you need to decide who will be the primary decision-maker. You can do this if you have a trust document or will that has already assigned this responsibility. If not, sit down with the others involved and elect one person to be in charge. It will make things much easier when you start working with professionals and are in the midst of a transaction.

Step 3: You have to decide what you want to do with the house. First, talk with your family about the best thing to do with the house. Maybe you should sell it quickly, or perhaps you should get the most money. Possibly getting the most profit will require a long wait. Think about what is the most important thing to you and your family. Once you decide what you want to do, you can talk with a real estate agent.

Step 4: There are a few things to consider when choosing a real estate agent. You’ll want to find someone with experience in your type of home and market, who you feel comfortable with, and who is invested in helping you get the best price for your home. A great agent will ask questions to understand what you’re looking for and what’s important to you. They will also offer information about different selling strategies.

Step 5: One of the most challenging parts of selling a parent’s home is filling out the seller’s disclosures. If you didn’t grow up in the house or haven’t lived there in years, it’s okay not to know everything. Consult with your Realtor to understand what you need to disclose and be honest. When filling out the sellers’ disclosure, you may not know the answer to many of the questions. You may have never lived in the house, or it’s been years since you have lived in the home. You’ll need to write that in the disclosure.

When selling a home, it’s common for buyers to request repairs after a home inspection. It can cause sellers to arrange and pay for contractors to make those repairs. Why not avoid this difficult step altogether?

You may want or need to sell your home quickly. It’s my goal, as a Realtor, to get you the most money in the most convenient time frame. In some cases, you may consider selling the Home, As-is. That means you don’t have to fix anything in the house before selling it. You don’t have to paint it or correct the roof or anything like that. You can sell it as-is and have it inspected by a professional. If anything is wrong with the house, the buyer can still buy it, but more will have to pay more for fixing it. These repairs will be reflected in their offer.

If you are selling your home and you know that it needs repairs before someone can move in, you can offer to pay the buyer money to make the repairs instead. You can pay them for their closing costs or lower the home price. This way, you don’t have to do the repairs yourself, and you can still sell your home.


In conclusion, whether you as a family have decided to keep the family home or sell it after your parents have moved into Senior Care it’s a dynamic decision with several talking points.

Experience shows that the surviving spouse or siblings’ emotional attachment to the home initially drives the decision to keep the home. However, some practical factors to keep in mind as you move forward.  

You may decide to keep the house after they have moved to senior care. I’ve included four discussion topics will help guide the decision-makers to make some practical decisions.  

As a facilitator and negotiator, as well as a Realtor who specializes in Probate and Trust estate cases, I’m here to help guide the discussions as needed.  

Our team works with families in Probate and Trust liquidation and distribution cases all the time. That’s what we do. You will have more questions. That’s natural.  

Give me a call, Kevin McClenahan – local Realtor and let’s talk about your options. It’s true the home is typically the most valuable asset in any estate. However, personal property and ongoing home maintenance can be a challenge as well. Setting up a living trust for the beneficiaries can be an issue as well as accounting.  

Our team of specialists can help you. Call Kevin today at 858.284.7778. You may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I absolutely understand how you feel. Most of our clients have felt the same way. What they find is once they meet with us,

they understand more about the services we offer, and a lot of the stress you’re probably thinking about goes away.  

Let’s have a brief conversation, and when we decide to meet for 15-30 minutes, there is no commitment. I’ll do some homework so you’ll have a professional opinion and give you some options to look at.  

Whether you decide to keep the home or sell it, I’m confident we can show you some options you may not have discussed or at least provide you with an introduction to a good service provider you may need.

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